The records of the manor of Reigate include four conveyances of the Earl of Nottingham's moiety and later conveyances and settlements (371/1/-); four overlapping series of court rolls (rolls, 1532-1706; indexed volumes, 1571-1675 and 1767-84; unbound copies, 1663-1749; and drafts, 1707-17); three surveys, 1623-1700, and a rental, 1717; and bundles of court papers (371/2/-).
The records of the manor of Reigate Priory (371/3/-) include conveyances, 1719-1825, two court rolls, 1572-93, and 1784-1811, and a rental, 1807.
The burgage deeds (371/4/- to 371/8/-) relate to most of the tenements recognized by Bryant. For many of them the sequence begins in the late 17th century, for one (Bryant no.203) in the early 15th. Many original deed bundles were found intact, or could be reconstructed. The state of the polls (371/13/3) includes deed bundle numbers of Lord Somers' properties, and these were found on the documents. The order of the numbers appears to be haphazard, bearing no relation for example to the geographical position of the properties, though adjacent numbers sometimes indicate properties bought in one transaction. There may have been a plan of the borough on which these numbers were shown, but it has not come to light.
Among these deeds, of particular interest are a lease, release and bond of 1740 (371/6/34a-c) which bear three applied seals showing Dr Henry Sacheverell (1674-1724), the notorious Tory high churchman who was tried in 1710, a church and Queen Anne. Two of the parties, William Goulding and William Glassbrooke, were hop factors from St Saviours Southwark, the parish of which Sacheverell was elected chaplain in 1709; in the parish the brewers and allied tradesmen were noted for high church leanings (see Geoffrey Holmes, The Trial of Doctor Sacheverell (London, 1973): Holmes describes the brisk trade in pictures and other souvenirs of the Doctor at the height of his notoriety).
Also included in the deposit is a group of records relating to estate administration in general and other properties and interests of the Somers, Cocks and Yorke families, in Reigate and elsewhere (371/9/- to 371/12/-). These include the deed of settlement by which the vicar of Reigate, Andrew Cranston, transferred to trustees (including John Lord Somers) the parish library which he founded in 1701 (371/11/1), with an attached catalogue of the library's contents.
371/13/- includes papers of John, Lord Somers, relating to Treasury records, 1699, strays from the main body of his papers in 371/14/-; it also includes papers relating to the parliamentary election dispute of 1785-6.
371/14/- comprises papers of John, Lord Somers, (1651-1716), a dominant Whig politician under William III and Queen Anne, who served as Lord Keeper and Lord Chancellor between 1693 and 1700, and of his immediate family and descendants. The papers were acquired by Reigate Borough Council with Reigate manor (granted to Somers in 1697) and its records. They represent the largest surviving group of Somers' papers and are of particular value for the light they shed on political affairs in Worcestershire and in Ireland. They also include letters of Somers' family, both to him and between themselves, including his mother Catherine; sister Mary (d.1725) and her husband Charles Cocks (d.1717/18) and children, Mary, Margaret (later Countess of Hardwicke), James and John; and sister Elizabeth (d.1745) and her husband Sir Joseph Jekyll (c.1662-1738).
The papers were originally contained in 16 bundles, now represented by the letters A-P, possibly made up soon after Lord Somers' death. These bundles and the internal order of each have been retained although the contents of some are extremely mixed and they often do not appear to reflect a coherent filing system. Many of the letters have been annotated by Somers with the name of the sender and the date.
In the detailed catalogue descriptions have been placed in chronological (rather than numerical) order.
The papers comprise:
A: letters to Somers from Robert Harley, the Earl of Bath and Robert Liddell, 1690-1702 (10 items)
B: letters to Somers relating to parliamentary elections in Worcestershire, 1693-1702 (22 items)
C: papers relating to the death of HRH the Duke of Gloucester, 1700 (5 items)
D: letters to Somers from archbishops and bishops, 1693-1707 (19 items)
E: miscellaneous letters to Somers, chiefly relating to political affairs, c.1689-1710 (36 items)
F: letters and papers relating to Irish affairs, 1694-1709 (47 items)
G: letters and papers relating to affairs in the North American colonies, c.1693-1709 (10 items)
H: correspondence relating to the settlement of the Palatines, 1709 (14 items)
J: miscellaneous letters and papers of Somers, 1676-1709, and a pedigree, 1740 (28 items)
K: letters to Somers from William Bentinck, Earl of Portland, 1697-1709
L: applications to Somers for employment or assistance, 1693-1707 (30 items)
M: undated letters to Somers, c.1695- (8 items)
N: miscellaneous 'droll' [sic] letters to Somers, 1693-1709 (8 items)
O (now two bundles O/1 and O/2): letters to Somers from his family and correspondence of members of the Somers and Cocks families, before 1689-c.1745 (105 items)
P: terrier of lands in Ledbury, Herefordshire, 1621 (1 item)